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March 25, 2008 / Mridul

German Parliament To Be World’s Greenest, Fine Tuning Required

reichstag.jpg

From late summer the building is due to swap to green power sources such as water, wind and solar energy, replacing the conventional power that it has largely relied upon until now.
Its extensive refurbishment in the late 1990s, including the glass cupola designed by the British architect Sir Norman Foster, had already won it plaudits. Ecologists praised the building’s energy efficiency, which has led to a 94% cut in its carbon emissions.

In what can only be described as the most commendable taken to curb emissions by any parliament in the world the German Reichstag has decided that it would use energy generated only from renewable energy sources. The Germen government has set a remarkable precedent which should be followed the world over.

One thing, however, that the German Parliament needs to do is the removal of the biofuel generators which generate 40% of the building’s energy. While transforming the Reichstag into a beau ideal of energy generation for rest of the world, the German government needs to take into account the catastrophic consequence of over usage of biofuels. The European Union itself is in a fix over its biofuels policy.

Since 40% is no mean figure the Reichstag should look to reduce it to single digits and should try to distribute the load of energy generation among other green power sources like water, solar and wind. Solar panels, which now are available at very low prices, can be used to replace the biofuel-powered generators. The Reichstag can further cut its €3 million energy bill by setting up roof gardens. The roof gardens cool the surrounding air by as much as 3 degrees to 11 degrees Celsius and can prove very helpful in cutting the air conditioning costs if the building and also add to the urban biodiversity.

The German government deserves tons of praise for this highly ‘green’ificent step but needs do to slight correction so that its message to the world is crystal clear. Germany is already leading the world in green innovation and this step would only strengthened its reputation as one of the greenest countries in the world.

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